Maryland inheritance tax is a tax imposed on the privilege of receiving property. The federal government does not have an inheritance tax, and only six states collect this tax. Maryland is one of those 6 states and Maryland also has an estate tax which is a tax imposed on the privilege of transferring property. Not exactly a perk for being a Marylander! Estate tax and inheritance tax are two types of death taxes that are often used interchangeably, but they have a key difference. Estate tax is calculated based on the net value of all the property owned by a deceased person and is paid by the estate before any inheritance is issued. Inheritance tax is based on the amount that beneficiaries receive from the estate and is paid by them.
Some individuals are exempt from the inheritance tax in Maryland, depending on their relationship to the person that has passed away. Currently, property that passes to a spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, step-parent, step-child, child or other lineal descendant, spouse of a child or other lineal descendant, or a corporation that has only people in this category as stockholders, is entirely exempt from the Maryland inheritance tax. A primary residence owned by domestic partners held in joint tenancy at the time of one partner’s death is also exempt from the inheritance tax. However, property that passes to any other beneficiary than those mentioned is subject to the Maryland inheritance tax of 10%.
The estate tax threshold for Maryland is $5 million as of 2023. This means that if you die and your total estate is worth less than $5 million, the estate owes nothing at all to the state of Maryland. If your estate is worth more than $5 million, though, there is a progressive tax rate for all wealth above that $5 million mark that your estate will have to pay before money can be dispersed to your heirs.
If you are fortunate enough to have an estate worth beyond 5 million dollars there are a things you can do to lessen the amount of estate taxes.
Give it away! Consider making gifts while you’re still alive. Any gifts you make during your lifetime will help reduce your total estate value, and you’re probably gonna make some people very happy! For 2023, the annual gift tax exemption is $17,000, up from $16,000 in 2022. This means you can give up to $17,000 to as many people as you want in 2023 without any of it being subject to the federal gift tax. The gift tax is imposed by the IRS if you transfer money or property – worth more than an exempted amount – to another person without receiving at least equal value in return. This could apply to parents giving money to their children, the gifting of property such as a house or a car, or any other transfer. There is also a lifetime exclusion of $12.92 million in 2023.
Trusts are a popular option because they can be used to avoid the probate process as well as reduce estate taxes. Trusts are an important part of estate planning and can be used to protect your assets and ensure that your wishes are carried out. A trust is a legal entity that holds title to property for the benefit of another person or organization. It can be used to transfer ownership of assets, such as real estate, stocks, bonds, or other investments, from one person to another without going through probate court. Trusts also provide tax advantages and can help reduce the amount of taxes owed upon death. With proper planning, a trust can help you ensure that your family’s financial security is protected after you’re gone.
Another consideration to avoid estate and/or inheritance tax is to relocate. Location, location, location!!! Consider finding a state without these financial penalties.
Speaking to a financial advisor, estate planner and/or an attorney tailored to your specific needs is the best route when deciding what will happen with your wealth. Since you can’t take it with you, at least you can be in charge of where it ends up. Thank you for reading and best of luck protecting your future fortune!